Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Farming for Soil Health

This field event which took place in Johnstown Castle on Thursday March 16th, 2023 demonstrated the practices and technologies that can be adopted on farms to assess and enhance soil health.

View the information boards and some highlights of the day below

Challenges and Opportunities for improving soil health on farms

Soil Health is the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem sustaining plants, animals and humans


Soil Biodiversity - The Soils Engine

Soil Biology is essential for agricultural activity and ecosystem health

Plant Diversity Enhances Soil Biology 

Diversity above ground equals diversity below ground. Increasing plant diversity can have positive effects on soil biology and soil function

Assessing Soil Compaction and Soil Quality

Poor grass growth in parts of a field, poor drainage and surface water ponding indicate soil compaction. Aggregate size, colour, pore space, rooting and strength are indicators of soil health

How to assess soil health in situ

Different soils have different properties, which dictate their different functions and vulnerabilities. A quick look at the topsoiland profile can give valuable information about the type of soil and it's health status

Soil management for tillage crops

Crop establishment systems - min-till, strip-till, direct drill. Machinery traffic management - heavy machinery damages soil structure and reduces yield

Straw incorporation and cover crops

Incorporation of straw and cover crops increases soil organic matter. Cover crops help reduce N fertiliserincreases soi

Preventing and alleviating physical soil damage

Prevent soil damage by maintaining soil organic matter, keep a living root in the soil,, avoid trafficking wet soils, spread the load and control traffic. To alleviate soil damage, identify compaction and it's depth, rest the land, reduce traffic, change the crop

Soil compaction by machinery trafficking

Selection of images showing damage to soil from machinery. Trafficking soils with moisture levels of 36 - 42% leads to loss of structure. Avoid trafficking for 1-2 days after moderate rainfall

How to enhance soil nutrient supplyPictures of nutrient deficiencies

Enhancing soil nutrient supply and soil health - Bio-Based Fertiliser (BBF) Research

Recycling nutrients and carbon reduces our dependence on imported fertilisers and supports health soils. Bio-based fertilisers maintain yield when included in fertiliser programme


Enhancing Carbon Sequestration

Image demonstrating the capacity of soils to sequester C with carbon management practices

Carbon Farming on Grassland FarmsActions to reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration - reduce N fertiliser use, improve animal genetics and management, improve grassland management, plant trees. woodland and manage hedgerows

Perennial Ryegrass vs Multi Species Swards

Milk production is similar for perennial ryegrass (PRG)and multi species swards (MSS) Annual herbage production is reduced albeit with reduced fertiliser N input


Multispecies Swards - Multiple Benefits

Multispecies Swards contain a mixture of specifically selected species from grass, legume and herb functional groups. Benefits include weed suppression, food for pollinators, increased earthworm activities, enhanced drought tolerance, reduced nitrate leaching